- A teacher who showed his class of the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad was beheaded near a school in a Paris suburb on Friday afternoon.
- Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old history teacher, presented cartoons of his student Prophet Muhammad from the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo as part of a compulsory “moral and civil education” course.
- President Emmanuel Macron called the incident an “Islamist terrorist attack.”
- The knifeman is an 18-year-old Moscow-born man who, according to eyewitnesses, shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he attacked Paty with a large kitchen knife, later posting pictures of the social killings media.
- The attack came just three weeks after two journalists were stabbed outside Charlie Hebdo̵7;s former office.
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A teacher who showed his class the highly controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad was cut off in a Paris suburb on Friday afternoon, in what President Emmanuel Macron called an “Islamist terrorist attack.”
French police have shot an 18-year-old man who allegedly beheaded the teacher – who has since been named Samuel Paty – with a large kitchen knife near a school in a suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.
According to a police source, witnesses heard the knifeman shout “Allahu Akbar” (“God is Greatest”) as he attacked the teacher, Reuters reported. He is also said to have shared photos of the attack on social media.
The 47-year-old teacher of history and geography showed his students, aged 12 to 14, caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad from the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that many Muslims found excessive nakakagalit
The lesson is part of a compulsory “moral and civil education” course that all French primary and secondary schools have in their curriculum.
Visiting the scene shortly after the attack, Macron said Paty was a “victim of an Islamic terrorist attack” killed because “he taught freedom of expression, belief and disbelief,” according to Sky News
“This is a cowardly attack on our countrymen. They will not win … We will act,” the French president added, the BBC reported.
The 18-year-old knifeman, who has not been named, was born in Moscow and is said to have Chechen roots, according to the Associated Press (AP). He fled after the attack but was confronted by local police in the nearby Eragny area.
After police ordered him to surrender, the knifeman allegedly threatened them, prompting them to shoot him ten times. The suspect, who has a small criminal record and is unknown to the country’s intelligence service, died shortly afterwards.
Nine people, including the suspect’s grandfather and 17-year-old brother, were questioned by police on Saturday.
The history teacher lesson started with complaints from many parents. One family submitted a legal complaint while another parent posted a video on YouTube after the lesson complaining about the teacher.
In response, another parent wrote a comment below the video on Friday, defending the teacher.
“I am a parent of a student at this college. The teacher only showed cartoons from Charlie Hebdo as part of a history lesson on freedom of expression. He asked Muslim students to leave the room- study if they want, out of respect … He was a great teacher. He tried to encourage the critical spirit of his students, always with respect and intelligence, “the parents wrote, according to the Guardian.
“Tonight, I feel sad, for my daughter, but also for the teachers in France. Can we continue to teach without fear of being killed?” the parent added. The video has been removed.
France has suffered a wave of Islamist violence since the 2015 terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters that left 12 people dead. An Islamist attack trial is currently underway in Paris.
Three weeks ago, two journalists from a production company were stabbed and seriously injured outside the former satirical magazine office.
Charlie Hebdo responded to Friday’s attack on his Twitter account, writing: “Intolerance has crossed a new threshold and does not seem to give any ground to the imposition of its terror on our country.”
Note: This article has been updated to include the victim’s name.